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Spires & Barton Field Farm Equestrian Competition

Spires Academy in conjunction with Barton Field Farm Equestrian Centre organised and ran one of the first schools’ equestrian show jumping competitions within the Canterbury district and surrounding areas. The competition was designed and organised by Spires Academy and Barton Field Farm Equestrian Centre. This type of competition is one of the first of its kind for schools in East Kent. There will be many competitions to follow in which each school or university involved will host their own home event. This type of competition has been successful for many years at  university level but has not been seen at school level before.

The competition on Wednesday 25th January 2017, consisted of 3 schools and a university competing at Barton Field Farm Equestrian Centre new indoor facility seeing students jumping a range of heights from the 30cm class to a 1m class. To the seasoned show jumper this may not sound like a huge height but the format of the competition is designed to allow the skills of the rider to shine through rather than the quality of the horse. Riders are not allowed to bring their own horse but instead are assessed by the quality of their riding skills.  All students had the opportunity to ride a series of experienced horses with lots of scope. Points are awarded for final placement at each height where the team who has the most points at the end of the competition wins the overall prize.

The competition was a huge success seeing 24 students aged between 12 and 20 years old competing against one another. The schools involved within the competition were The King’s School , St Edmund’s School , Spires Academy and Canterbury Christ Church University. After a fantastic day of competition the talent from The King’s School show jumpers shone through seeing them win the team competition. St Edmund’s School closely followed in 2nd place ;  Spires Academy in 3rd and Canterbury Christ Church University in 4th.  All riders performed incredibly and some healthy rivalries developed.

Nicky Lewis, Head of Sports Development said ‘Our Elite Equestrian programme at Spires Academy has flourished over the past few years seeing the skill level of our riders sky rocket. The other elite Academies we run at Spires Academy (Golf, Gymnastics, Dance, Leadership and Football) all have very close links volunteering links with the local community but also compete on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the cost implication of show jumping can sometimes be a barrier in allowing some extremely talented students the opportunity to compete. Our aim with this competition was to remove this barrier, promote excellence and pioneer a format of competition rarely seen at school level anywhere in the South East. We are extremely happy that Barton Field Farm Equestrian Centre (where Spires students train once a week) owner Natalie Brown, Manager Gemma Buggins, and instructor Vicki Burkinshaw saw the potential in this type of competition. Without their support this competition would not have been possible. Spires Academy are committed to running a series of competitions throughout the year for local schools to allow the show jumping population of East Kent to compete as regularly as possible. We are very proud of the way this competition ran and we will continue to strive for sporting excellence within our Elite Academy Programme as well support the development of sport within the local area. Well done to everyone involved and thank you for making it a special day.’